Go, Synergy, Revolution parties file for ASUU elections

By Rita Totten, STaff Writer

Let the games begin.

Students running in the spring ASUU elections began filing for candidacy Monday, the earliest candidates have ever been able to file. So far, three parties8212;Go, Synergy and Revolution8212;have completed paperwork for elections, said Kariann Hibbard, Associated Students of the University of Utah elections registrar for the 2009 elections.

Hibbard, who has been involved in ASUU elections for the past two years working on the Forward and Focus campaigns, said she decided that this year she would like to try to change some election policies.

“I have been involved in campaigns before so I know how to uphold the rules while listening to the parties,” Hibbard said.

Pace Johnson, ASUU deputy chief of staff, filed for ASUU president with the Go Party. Jeff Sbaih, the Union Programming Council executive director, is running for vice president, and Erica Andersen, the Panhellenic recruitment leader, is the senior class president candidate.

Johnson said he is running for president because he wants to further the desires of students at the U. He said he loves what ASUU offers students and wants to be involved in his last year at the U.

“The community of ASUU needs to be enhanced,” Johnson said. “Students need to know what they do.”

Financial transparency and accountability are things Johnson said need to be improved in student government.

Sustainability is the biggest concern for the Synergy Party, led by presidential candidate Clint Hugie, a junior in philosophy and business management. Hugie said he believes the U can become a leader and a role model for institutions across the country in sustainability efforts.

“I want to capture the energy of the students and focus that on campus by making students aware of the positions (in ASUU) available,” which includes creating positions as well as building on existing ones, Hugie said.

Katie Kormanik, a junior in economics and mathematics, filed as the vice presidential candidate for the Synergy Party, which has not released the name of its senior class candidate.

Tayler Clough, a junior in history and political science, heads the Revolution Party along with Rachel Rizzo for vice president and Quentin Hodges for senior class president. Clough said he wants to use his potential presidency to show the U that ASUU can create partnerships on and off campus.

“I want to get ASUU outside the box it has been in for a while,” Clough said.

He said he believes that by working with administrators, the Revolution Party has created initiatives and ideas that will target student issues and help them succeed.

Diversity and sustainability are areas on which Clough and his running mates will be focusing. He said they have created a sustainability plan that will not require student fees to be raised and will not cost the U anything. ASUU is proposing a $5 student fee for a sustainability initiative that would help buy wind power.

Hibbard said she would like to implement some changes that have to do with campaign involvement. According to Redbook, the ASUU constitution, potential candidates are not allowed to approach or speak to students they don’t already know to ask for their involvement in their campaign until Dialogue Week8212;Feb. 21 through Feb. 27.

Dialogue Week marks the beginning of party campaigning when parties can begin wearing T-shirts and posting fliers and banners around campus. Hibbard said she would like to see an event organized for students to attend to hear what each campaign has to offer and to see if they want to get involved prior to Dialogue Week.

Hibbard said she wants the elections registrar to be hired earlier so that important changes can be implemented before elections begin. To make changes to Redbook, the registrar and the ASUU attorney general must present a written statement of the changes they would like to make to the ASUU Senate and General Assembly to be approved. If both bodies approve the changes, as well as the ASUU president and Board of Trustees, they will go into effect next election year.

As registrar, Hibbard is charged with enforcing election policies and rules. In the past, parties who have broken rules have been fined, but Hibbard has decided to limit budgets and campaign time. She said past parties haven’t budgeted for infractions and much of the money used for these fines have come directly from the candidates’ pockets. Parties can file grievances against another party they feel has broken the rules. Grievances are presented to the elections committee at scheduled meetings throughout the election season.

Hibbard hopes that because of the pre-active campaigning rules, parties will focus on communicating with each other to avoid any unnecessary problems but expects that, as in past elections, people will be coming to her with complaints and anger.

“People get frustrated,” Hibbard said. “It comes with the territory.”

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